Revision in Criminal Cases


When there is no right of appeal available, to avoid any miscarrige of Justice, the Criminal Procedure Code of India, 1973 under the provision of sections 397 to sections 405 talks about the power of revision that is conferred upon the higher courts to help against the same. 

The Power of revision on the higher courts is very wide and discretionary. Thus, no party has any right intrinsically to be heard before a court in exercise of these powers. The revisional powers, though quite broad, come with limitations. A person is allowed to file only one revision application either to the court of sessions or the high court. If an application id field in front of a court the same shall not be accepted in the other.

Section 397 of the code provides the High Court or the Judges of  the Court of Sessions the power to call and examine the records of any proceedings before a subordinate criminal court. Situated within its jurisdiction to satisfy itself of the correctness, legality or propriety of any finding, sentence of order so recorder and/or passed. It also can look into the regularity of the proceedings of such inferior courts. The Judge so empowered by this provision can also direct the execution of any sentence or suspension of any order. Pending the examination of the record the court may also dirent the accused to be released on bail or on their own if they are in confinement.

The power of revision is not exercised in relation to any interlocutory order so passed in an appeal, inquiry, trail or any other proceedings.

Section 398 of the code empowers the High Court of the Judge of the Court of Sessions to direct the Chief Judicial Magistrate or any other magistrate subordinate to the court to make further inquiry into any complaint which has been dismissed under the section 203(dismissal of complaint) or section 204 (4). The provision also talks about that no direction of inquiry shall be made by any court into the case of any person who has thus discharged unless such person has had the opportunity of showing cause as to why such a direction should not be made.

The different kind of powers of revision are explained in brief in the following paragraphs:

  1. Power of the High Court (S.401)
  • S.386 {powers of the appellate court}; 
  • S.389 {Suspension of sentence pending the appeal, release on bail},
  • S.390 { Arrest of accused in appeal from acquittal}, 
  • S.391 { Appellate Court taking further evidence or directing it to be taken}, 
  • S.392 { Procedure wherein the Judges of the COurt of Appeal are equally divided}
  • S.401(2) states that no order shall be made that is prejudiced towards the accused or other persons unless they have had the opportunity of being heard either personally or through a pleader in their defence.
  • S.401(3) Nothing shall be deemed that shall allow the High Court to convert a finding of acquittal into conviction.
  • S.401(4) Wherein a right to appeal exists, no proceedings by way of revision shall be entertained if no appeal has been brought.
  • S.401(5) Wherein the high court is satisfied that an application of revision has been filed due to the erroneous belief that no right of appeal existed, and the court deems it necessary in the interests of justice, the court shall treat such an application of revision as an appeal and deal accordingly.
  1. Powers of the Sessions Court (S.399)
  • S.399(1)The sessions court can also exercise the same powers as the high court under S.401(1). 
  • S.399(3)Wherein an application for revision is made before the Judge of Court of Sessions, the decisions of the judge shall be final and no further revision shall be entertained at the instance of the same person by the high court or any other court.
  1. Powers of the Additional Sessions Judge (S.400)
  • An additional Sessions Judge shall exercise all the powers of a Sessions Judge in respect any case that may be transferred to him or under any special order by a sessions court judge.

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